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Thread: Push Start

  1. #16
    My favorite was at the Falling Leaf Rally many years ago. An R90/6 or similar vintage Airhead refused to start on a frosty Sunday morning. We tried jumper cables. Then we tried pushing. At pushing speed the bike went into a death-wobble and was absolutely uncontrollable. We tried several pushers and several brave riders all to no avail. We finally got it started using jumper cables from a large diesel truck, but not by pushing it.

    Once back to Kansas the owner brought it to my house. I found two problems. The starter problem was a binding starter due to a worn nose bearing. The wobble was caused by very loose steering head bearings.

    I asked the owner how he could even ride the thing. He said that starting out it would wobble but he would just add power/speed and it was OK. Coming to a stop, he said, was a bit dicey so he would just grab more brake to stop more quickly.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
    "The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution." - Bertrand Russell

  2. #17
    Registered User jad01's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Houston, TX or Portland, OR
    Quote Originally Posted by PGlaves View Post
    ...we push started Airhead BMWs so folks could go home.
    Ugh... I had a garden tractor battery in my /7 (PO had installed it) when I was in college. The battery didn't have enough oomph to turn the engine over when it was cold out, but I couldn't afford a replacement at the time. I can still remember push-starting that thing every morning over the first winter I owned it in the parking lot of my apartment complex so I could get to work and/or school. Lots of banged shins for me with that operation... Ironically, I'd bought the /7 to replace my 750 Bonneville, which started first or second kick every time... (but, the Bonnie had other issues).
    Last edited by jad01; 11-20-2016 at 02:27 PM.
    Jim (MOA 83200)
    '78 R80/7 (Anastasia) and '84 R100RS (The Millennium Falcon), '86 K75C (Icy Hot)
    '90 and '93 Mazda Miatas (Jelly Bean and Red Hot), '97 Nissan XE PU (Mighty Mouse)
    '96 Giant Upland (big Kendas, baby!)

  3. #18
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Birmingham, AL
    Back in Oct'05, my wife and I were in WVa, on my '96 Trophy 1200. Bike ran/started perfectly on the way up and while we were riding around the area. On the morning we were ready to head home, I hit the e-button, heard a pop, then nothing. No lights, no start, nothing. There were 6 other bikes with us, and we attempted to jump it off. No luck. Next option -- find a new battery to fit. No easy task in small town WVa. Did I mention we were in the area near the radio telescope? No cell phone service! One of the group said he'd stay with us and help us find a new battery. I piled on the back of his Yam Seca 750 and we headed off. Went by a greasy, H-D repair shop. No one home. Borrowed a land-line and made a few calls. Nada. On the way back to the motel, we passed by a Husqvarna chain-saw repair shop, and I said, "What have I got to lose? Let's see if they have anything that might fit." The proprietor/owner/chief mechanic said he might have one -- did I have my old battery with me? Fortunately, I had the old one in the topbox. I put it on the counter, he measured it, disappeared into the back, and came back up front and put a new, dusty battery on the counter. It was the same size, size polarity. Only problem -- he had no way to charge it for me. I asked -- "You have acid, right?" Affirmative reply. I asked, "How much?", expecting to hear a number near $100, maybe more. He replied, "I've had that awhile (no s--t, I thought, looking at the dust). How about $35 & your old one?" I could have kissed him. I handed him 2 - $20's. He put acid in the battery. We headed back to the motel, where our wives were waiting. We put the new battery in the Trophy. Pushed it up to the high point in the lot, and we bump-started that sucker. It was fully loaded, of course, as we were ready to head south when the battery gave up. It started, and we headed south. I kept that bike at 5000 RPM (or higher) for a full tank of gas. The bike's alternator charged that battery very nicely. We made it back to Birmingham in 2 days w/o any further bike problems (it did rain on us for the last 200 miles, but so what?) That battery was still in the Trophy when I traded it in on a BMW F800ST in '10!

    So yes, you can bump start a fully-loaded heavy-weight bike, IF it has a chargeable battery! (My failed battery apparently had a cell go bad, as it wouldn't take a charge, or light up the lights even hooked to another bike). And yes, we did bump-start it in second gear!
    J Goertz
    2015 BMW R1200RT
    2012 Triumph Bonneville SE

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